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  You could have a big dipper   

Confessions to my hairstylist by Jade Braden

I have dyed my hair three times since our last appointment, during which you explicitly told me

do not dye your hair, for a full year, and then we can try to fix the bleach damage… though

knowing you I give it a 50/50 chance you’ll do it anyway which ended up being a good guess on your part because I did dye it, but only once in that off-limits year (though it was box dye, black

box dye, which is the greatest sin you can commit as an at-home-aficionado.) But please let me

explain that I needed to be beautiful, because after I chopped my hair (to fix the bleach damage

myself) it was above my shoulders for the first time since I was eleven and I felt ugly, like really


ugly, and I have this compulsive need to be beautiful, so beautiful that it detracts from all my

other flaws, you know, so people can say things like she took forever to respond to that email,

but at least she looks good OR she is insufferably fidgety, but the sex appeal she brings to the

table is impeccable. So that’s why I dyed my hair black, but then cut off more, and then more,

and kept trimming it every few weeks until I heavily contemplated shaving it, just to feel like I

didn’t have to be beautiful anymore, not in the way I’m expected to be, not in the way I was in

high school when I had virgin hair down my back that lightened naturally in the sun, which I

thought about so much (the cultural implications of what drives my need to be “that sort” of

beautiful, that is) that it pushed me over the edge of, not shaving it off, but dying it purple, well,

purple-ish, because my hair is no longer sun-lightened—closer to black (regardless of the dye)

than brown—so the purple didn’t stick. Maybe that doesn’t have to count as dying it again

because it was only temporary dye and doesn’t seem to have affected my hair texture? It did,

however, make me feel ballsy for so recklessly risking the whole “natural beauty” thing I was

striving for now that I’m an adult who works in data analysis. So I’m really hoping that we can

schedule an appointment next week on Thursday, maybe three o’clock, maybe the week after in

case you need time to do some soul-searching and look in your heart for forgiveness for

desperate me who just wanted to do the best I could with cheap beauty supplies and some

leftover teenage rebellion. Do you stare at yourself in the corner of your laptop screen all day

too? My hair’s always glinting in the stupid ring-light I bought off the internet, $30 so I could

say Yes, I’m Professional, and Yes, I’m Beautiful, and Yes, By All Appearances I Am Still

Holding It Together.


Jade Braden is an author and artist based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Bookends Review, Complete Sentence, and Caesura, among others. She lives between a cemetery and a graveyard and enjoys frolicking with the local groundhogs.Find her on Twitter @jadewcb and online at

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